Over at The Intercept, Ryan Devereaux and Jeremy Scahill have a fascinating story about the government's rapidly growing terrorist watchlist. There are 680,000 people on this "Terrorist Screening Database," and over 40 percent of them have "no recognized terrorist affiliation." Both this list and the related "no fly list" have been expanding rapidly in recent years. Here's a graphic explaining the watchlist:
Just a few minutes before this piece ran, however, the Associated Press threw up a quick piece on exactly the same subject. According to the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim, this was a deliberate leak from the government:
The government, it turned out, had "spoiled the scoop," an informally forbidden practice in the world of journalism. To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have gotten. Tuesday's AP story was much friendlier to the government's position, explaining the surge of people added to the watch list on a foiled terror plot. [Huffington Post]
On Twitter, Glenn Greenwald (the flagship reporter for The Intercept) said this could result in the government only being given a short time to react to stories. John Cook, editor-in-chief of the publication, confirmed that is the new policy. According to Grim, Cook told a government official that "in the future the agency would have only 30 minutes to respond to questions before publication."